What Is An Inner Resource?
Your inner resource is a place, for sale real or imagined, where you feel completely safe, secure, loved, connected, and at ease. In this place, you can be yourself, without masks or worry, just as you are. In this place, there is nothing to become and nothing to accomplish. It’s more than just a happy place; it’s a safe and secure refuge – your safe haven. Your Inner Resource puts you in charge of your experience whenever and whatever may be arising.
How Do I Create My Inner Resource?
Your Inner Resource is an inner place (space) or a felt-sense which is unique to you and is of your own choosing. It can be real or imagined.
- Bring to mind places, people and activities that make you feel calm, happy, nourished, secure and good overall.
- Choose one scene (or image, or situation) from the above that feels particularly strong for you.
- Enrich this place with as many of your five senses as possible. Notice what sights, sounds, scents, touch, or tastes that are present. The essential test is whether anything you add helps deepen the security and tranquility of your Inner Resource.
- Remember you don’t need to have an image to have an Inner Resource. What’s essential is a felt-sense of security, safety and tranquility no matter how you find it.
How Do I Use My Inner Resource?
It is a tool to help you feel in control during iRest and in your daily life. So, if life brings events that seem overwhelming, such as a sensation (e.g., pain), emotion, thought, image or memory that brings anxiety, sadness, fear or anger, then this is the ideal time to bring forth your Inner Resource and to nourish it until the storm passes. The goal is to feel it bring a sense of safety and security out of which ease and tranquility can arise. Rest in the Inner Resource until you have regained your strength and equanimity.
You may also use your inner resource to help you fall asleep at night or when your body is in pain.
It’s not an escape – some emotions, memories or pain that arise need attention (sometimes professionally) but it is a temporary antidote so that we can regain our composure and then respond to life.
Having an Inner Resource helps nourish our resiliency, making it possible to respond rather than react to Life. It also helps build a positively focused brain. Rick Hanson, PhD, writes in his book Hardwiring Happiness that evolutionarily we are wired for a “negativity bias,” as a survival mechanism. It’s better to mistake a stick for a snake than a snake for a stick. However, we can get stuck in a negative hole, so intentionally cultivating positivity through repeatedly practicing your Inner resource proactively strengthens resilience, health and happiness.
During a guided yoga nidra, take a few moments to connect with your Inner Resource and strengthen it, then if difficult emotions, thoughts, or images arise, take refuge in it until the storm passes.
Examples Of Inner Resources
Your inner resource is a unique expression of you. Here are some ideas that you might find helpful:
- A special place you’ve been to before, or one that comes to you in your imagination
- Seated by a peaceful stream or a beautiful spot in nature
- In a room where you are surrounded by your favourite things
- Floating on a cloud
- A childhood home
- An armed castle with a moat on a mountain (my first one)
- An animal or pet
- A person; a special loved one, a wisdom figure, a wise teacher
- A totem, figure, statue or symbol that is meaningful and strengthening for you
- A felt-sense of relaxation and peace in your body
As a concrete example, one combat veteran’s Inner Resource was his weapon locked and loaded with his team. Another vet’s Inner Resource was making love with his wife. No matter what your particular Inner Resource is, the key test is that you have a deep somatic felt sense of release and relief, of safety and security in which you can rest and let go.
Name your Inner Resource. You might call it safety, security, Mom or Dad, grandma’s house, Well-being, Joy or anything else that evokes the sensation of your Inner Resource’s security and equanimity. As you practice, use the name of your Inner Resource so that just repeating its name is enough touring forth the felt-sense of security.
How Can I Strengthen My Inner Resource?
Sometimes an emotional experience can flood the mind and may divert all our attention away from the Inner Resource. In situations like this it can seem difficult to focus on the felt sense of your inner safe haven.
Frequent, short practices strengthen your inner resource muscle, just like weight lifting.
To remind myself to practice, I keep a shell from the Carolina Beach in my pocket so that each time I touch it I am prompted to practice for 20-30 seconds. I also set an hourly alarm on my phone to remind me to stop for a few moments to intentionally enjoy resting in that felt-sense of safety and security, so that when a storm comes I have a strong reliable resource on which to depend for strength.
Do I Need To Change My Inner Resource?
No, but it will likely evolve over the years that you use it. I found that my first Inner Resource lost its strength after a while, so I created a new one. Eventually, a sense of wellbeing became my inner resource and that is what I use now.
Advancing Your Inner Resource Practice
After your Inner Resource is firmly established, and when you are enjoying a deep sense of ease and equanimity, take some time to feel into your Inner Resource fully. Let every atom in your body feel enlivened with your Inner Resource. Soak it up.
Next, let the image or memory dissolve so that only the felt sense of safety, security and wellbeing remains. Finally, steep in that. You can come to realize that your Inner Resource is actually not independent on the image or memory that makes up your safe haven.
Now start testing it; during your day when waiting for an appointment or travelling, take a moment to check in and ask “is it here now?” My guess is that your Inner Resource will be available to you whenever you look for it.
So now you have it; the iRest sankalpa is made up of the Intention, Heartfelt Desire and the Inner Resource. These three form the foundation of our iRest practice whether it is “on the mat” or in life. During a guided yoga nidra you may notice that these elements frequently appear at the beginning and end of a meditation.
Click here to download the IRI iRest Inner Resource Worksheet
Coming Up Next: Finding Your Unshakable Ground
Philip Beck is a Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher, a graduate of the Spiritual Psychotherapy program at Transformational Arts College, and a 500-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher. He lives in Toronto and works with people who want to reconnect with themselves and their passion. Free discovery sessions are available in person, by Skype or FaceTime. You can email Philip here or book Philip here for your complementary first session.
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